With over SEVEN MILLION of us on NHS waiting lists for treatment,  etc., the NHS seems shell-shocked and unable to do anything to improve matters..  If you are on its list if must seem never-ending, and, sadly it seems it is up to us, the patients/victims, to help ourselves, as complacency exhibited by the Minister, Victoria Atkins, and the rest of the Government over these lists beggars belief.

Although reforming the NHS will probably be on everyone’s election wish list,  it’s up to us to sort this out, in our own way.  What I have found out might help.

Steps I take

  • send an email to the Appointments Office saying  I am available if a cancellation comes up(this should be on top of your appointments letter)
  • send an  email to my consultant’s/doctor’s  Secretary, as a courtesy, but repeating that I am available for a cancellation (said I didn’t expect therm to do anything as knew it wasn’t their fault)
  • send an email to my MP, with a copy to the hospital appointments office
  • send copy email to my GP, again as a courtesy
  • As a member of the Patients’ Association phone them for advice    Well worth belonging to, and it’s free  Tel: 020 8423 8999.

and sat back to wait.

The last time I was phoned within 5 days  -and offered an appointment for the next Tuesday!  I have no idea which message/email triggered this, but one of them worked!

What upsets me is that so many canceled or overlooked appointments are for painful conditions like hip and knee operations.  However much you are in pain, that doesn’t seem to count with the NHS.  You are just told to take painkillers – then blamed if you end up addicted.

For the future  

Things are going to get worse;  The latest round of strikes is going to see more people on the waiting list.  However, there always going to be cancellations – and a polite phone call to an appointments office, saying you are available, might work.

More ideas

  1. If you have a carer, work out with them what you want them to do, and whom to contact, so they can help you.
  2. In an Election year your MP can be a good ally, so arrange to go and see them at their next surgery.  Even if they don’t do anything, copying them in on emails can ‘encourage’ hospital appointments offices to do something.
  3. Try and find out who is the head honcho in your hospital appointments office.  It can help to ask to speak to them.
  4. If you can make friends with Outpatient Receptionists, they can also be helpful, as can Secretaries.  In fact Karol In his new tell all book The Street-Wise Patient's Guide to Surviving Cancer, Karol Sikora (pictured) lifts the lid on a lottery he claims cancer sufferers face when being treated by the NHSSikora, a well-known Cancer guru, advocates giving them chocolates or some small gift to remember you and show you care.

It is going to take persistence and hard work.

Good Luck!

And don’t give up!